Teacher Tim's TEFL International Blog June 9th, 2012

Let’s Play Dress Up In Thailand

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We will continue our examination of that amazing creature, the Thai girlfriend. Many a boy and man comes to Thailand, determined to resist the wiles of Siamese pulchritude, to remain free and buoyant. But any expat can tell you that such a dream cannot last. It’s not because the Thai women pursue the male farang. No, not at all! It is just the opposite; they don’t seem to care the peel of an onion for our company, until we turn ardent pursuer and wooer.

I myself spent several years in Thailand without consorting with the opposite sex. I had been recently divorced, which led to a deep-seated misogyny bubbling up in me like an artesian well. I wanted nothing to do with women ever again; those scheming, vindictive, relentless creatures! I was content to walk the beach at sunrise by myself, collecting sea shells. After my day’s work as an English teacher was done I would retire to my apartment with a good book or work on my Thai vowels and consonants, completely eschewing the frantic farang nightlife that swirled around me like a tornado. I wanted nothing to do with bar girls or girlfriends or any of that claptrap. My heart had been sliced & diced once, and I would not allow it to happen again.

But I couldn’t help gazing in fascination at the hundreds of Thai girls that walked past me each day when I lived in Bangkok; wearing knockoffs of the latest fashions, in stylish high heels, and swaying their hips in an unconcerned yet insouciant manner. They were not out on the prowl; they were simply out taking care of themselves. Very often they already had a man, a man who would not take care of them, who stayed at home watching TV and drinking beer, until they came home to him, when he might just as well slug them as hug them. Why the women of Thailand don’t all rise up one night and exterminate the entire male race is a mystery which I thankfully have never solved.

But at last, after three lonely years, I tired of my vowels and consonants, and timidly ventured out to some nice restaurants, where I sat in a corner, making goo-goo eyes at some likely looking ladies. No dice, amigo. That was not the way to do it.

The fact of the matter is I never did find the right way to do it. It just so happened that one day I was eating sticky rice with mango when a fellow farang English teacher asked if I wanted to meet his girlfriend’s older sister. I said yes, and we were off to the races!

I don’t believe in switching girlfriends often; I have reached that crotchety age where change is not automatically a good thing. I like things to stay the same.

So I pretty much have stayed with the same Thai gf for long periods of time. Thus, I can speak as a world-class expert on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the zigs and zags, of The Care and Feeding of the Thai Girlfriend.

Among many lessons I could teach, here is one pithy aphorism you should take to heart: DON’T EVER BUY THEM ANYTHING. They either won’t like it, won’t use it, or will give it away immediately. This will hurt your feelings, naturally, but what you need to realize is that your Thai gf is not deliberately trying to insult you. She just thinks that you will never understand what pleases her, unless she tells you herself and buys it herself. Very pragmatic, don’t you see . . .

Now, I’m a gift-giving guy. I think a lot of American men are. We like to give our women folk gifts and presents and then sit back to watch their eyes light up and hear their delighted squeals.

Not so with Thai women. I bought my gf a very nice pair of sandals, after she complained about the flip flops she had been wearing to the beach. When I gave them to her she looked at them as if they were a pair of dead fish. I noticed that her mother was soon wearing them.

Another time I tried giving her a dress, after consulting with the latest fashion boutiques. Also some chic tops. She acted like I had struck her on top of the head with an old Army boot. She huffed and she puffed and she finally told me that if I didn’t appreciate her sense of fashion I was free to go find my hugs and kisses elsewhere. That was the moment when I thought back to my dad, who took me aside one day to whisper these words of life-saving wisdom into my ear: Pick your battles.

So I opened the door and gave a low bow; if her highness wanted to depart, so be it.

Needless to say, she stuck around, somewhat humbled that I had called her bluff. But after that I never bought her so much as a snack from a street vendor. And we have lived quite happily together every since.

Of course, the gifts she buys me . . . . well, I’ll have to save that for another time!